9/2/09

Can't Get Fresher Than This

This post for Tablescape Thursday is a little unusual as the simple humble table is not the real focus, but , instead it is the story behind the table that is the important part. I hope you enjoy it. I am also connecting with Foodie Friday with this post.

I had an enjoyable experience last week of going to visit an engaging 86-year-old man whose profession was as an engineer. Now that he is retired his "hobby" is farming. So, he has put his analytical engineer mind to work planning, preparing, planting, harvesting and keeping meticulous records of his passion--growing corn. I learned much from him that I could use in my own pitiful make-shift garden such as:
Buy the best seeds. He orders his from a company in New York. This year he planted what is called Seneca Dancer.
Prepare the best soil. He rototills his soil.
Plan the crop. He sows the seeds in a weekly sequence so that all of the corn does not mature at once.
Fertilize. He has a special formula with %'s that he has determined work the best for his soil, weather and such.
Water--He has put in irrigation ditches and tuns them on at determined times.
Harvest-This is the part that he let me and my friends participate. You have to feel each ear to decide if it is heavy enough to pick. Then you lift the ear down, then twist it off the stalk.Each of his 34 rows of corn were numbered and labeled. We were each assigned a row. I had row # 24. We could pick as much as we wanted that were ready.Next we helped him sort his pickings from that morning into buckets labeled CHOICE, MATURE, IMMATURE and FOOD BANK. Personally, I thought all of it looked like Choice, but I guess I am not as picky as he is. We also picked young zucchini. He has many pumpkins too. Each one is labeled with the name of one of his grandchildren on it for them.
Then while we were cooking our dinner of fresh zucchini, tomatoes, and corn he has a ritual of delivering to friends and neighbors his CHOICE corn. He writes in his book how many dozen he delivers and has the recipients listed alphabetically. His goal is to deliver 160 dozen this summer.What a sweet man! His charts, all graphed out, were very impressive and detailed. As we were cooking the corn (according to his written instructions--1 minute after the water returns to a boil, a friend delivered homemade salsa and chips--YUM. His daughter had picked some peaches that day and we added a delicious peach cobbler she had made just for us to have with our farm fresh dinner. We sat at his humble table and talked and listened to his wise and sweet advice, learned of his family heritage--Italian. and met his sweet wife, Jean, who joined us (she is recovering from a broken leg). It was an enjoyable evening with "can't get any fresher than this" food.
Thanks "Farmer Dan"



18 comments:

Chari said...

Hello...

Ahhh...your engineer friend Dan sounds like a sweet, generous, and very interesting man! I can only imagine what a fun day that was. Ohhh..all those fresh veggies just make me hungry...the corn looks yummy good! I just adore days like that!!! Thanks for sharing yours with us...

Warmest wishes,
Chari

Denise said...

Adorable, can he come and help me in our garden? We planted corn but something got to it and most of it seems to be rotting or being eaten inside :-/ Don't think we'll be trying any this year! Thanks for sharing such a sweet story.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

What a lovely way to get into fall...working at a harvest. This was a terrific post, and the veggies look delicious.

Diana said...

I absolutely loved this post. Wish I could have visited with him, too.

Connie Weiss said...

Gotta love an engineer and their record keeping!

What a great garden!

Carolyn said...

Your friend Dan does sound like a wonderful man and all those good veggies are so impressive.

Carolyn

Brenda said...

I grew up in a big garden, running through rows of tall cornstalks. What an interesting man he is! Thanks for sharing this with us.
Brenda

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

What a wonderful garden! Farmer Dan sounds like a delight himself.

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

Isn't it nice when friends and neighbors give you produce. My husbands bus buddy gives him zucchini and our neighbor gives us tomatoes.

Joke: You know when you live in a small town when you lock your car door to keep people from putting zucchini in it. lol

nannykim said...

Very interesting. Nothing like fresh veggies! When we were growing up my Mom would sometimes make a meal of fresh corn--we all loved it!

nannykim--by tablescape is at the spindlecottage blog not the nannykim blog.

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

What a way to garden unlike my hodge podge way. I mark things with sticks that the dogs then pull from the ground and play with so I haven't a clue. But it does taste so good when you grow it yourself.~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

Rhonda @ Shellbelle's Tiki Hut said...

Gosh, if I were only a tenth as organized as Farmer Dan, I might actually get something accomplished!

I have family in South Georgia and visit to them is much like the visit you shared with us (not the organized part, the farming part). My car is always full of fresh fruits and veggies when I start back home.

Your post was a wonderful way to pay tribute to this man.

Mary said...

What a fascinating post. You must have had a great day. I loved your photos. Thanks for sharing such a sweet story with us. Have a wonderful day.

Jeanne said...

Oh my gosh, this is the most interesting story. I loved reading your post today. My husband is an engineer, retired, but I can't imagine him being that organized. Farmer Dan has made a science out of his garden. Good for him, he will probably live to be very old with his mind still working overtime. BIG smile. Thank you for this terrific story. The photos were great too.

Thank you for your visit today. My sister is the best. She is 72 and is raising her grandchildren 6 and 8 years old. She has the energy of a young woman. She also is a serious diabetic. I admire her so much. I have 7 quarts of wonderful tomatoes and several quarts of sauce. She shares with everyone. Kind of like farmer Dan.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

Hugs...Jeanne

SnoWhite said...

That is awesome! I'd love to have his help when I start my own garden :)

britt said...

That's my grandpa! So POU! :)

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Loved this post....Hope you will stop by and visit my new Christmas blog. There is a great giveaway that ends tonight.
http://grammyababychangeseverything.blogspot.com

Dianne West said...

Thanks for "publishing"! It meant
so much to "Farmer Dan." I sent
it to all my children, and they
were all so impressed, both with
your blog and their grandpa.